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NY Tech Day Event Aims to Help City Startups

By Mary Johnson | January 24, 2012 7:52am
John Petersen and Alec Hartman are the co-founders of NY Tech Day. Erica Virtue is managing the marketing for the event. All three have experience in the world of tech startups.
John Petersen and Alec Hartman are the co-founders of NY Tech Day. Erica Virtue is managing the marketing for the event. All three have experience in the world of tech startups.
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NY Tech Day

FLATIRON — Two entrepreneurs are launching a new event specially tailored for New York City's “Silicon Alley” tech startups.

NY Tech Day — the brainchild of John Petersen and Alec Hartman — is set for Apr. 19 in the Flatiron District. A specific address has yet to be announced, pending final paperwork.

But the co-founders were eager to talk about their plans for the big day, which was inspired in part by their own experiences launching tech-centered companies. 

“It’s going to be a home run for startups,” said Petersen, 29. “Working on startups ourselves really helped us keep that in focus as we built this thing.”

The day-long event, which is free and open to the public, is designed as a science fair for the startup set, Petersen said. New tech companies that purchase a booth at the event for $385 can demo their products or services before a crowd of journalists, investors and potential employees looking for internships or jobs.

In the evening, an award ceremony will honor startups that excel in certain categories, such as best mobile app or best user interface.

Petersen’s own company, MailManhattan, will have a booth at the event, he said, but he will disqualify himself from any potential awards. His startup, which should launch in the coming weeks, is intended to simplify the process of direct-mail advertising for companies looking to target a local customer base.

Hartman is using skills honed while working as a chief technology officer at three separate startups. Even NY Tech Day's head of marketing, Erica Virtue, is the co-founder of a startup that invented the fitness app Vitogo.

“[NY Tech Day] was something that we realized that we would greatly benefit from, and it allowed us to kind of put things in perspective when we were building it,” Petersen said. “[Launching a startup is] not an easy process, so we’re trying to simplify that.”

New York City plays host to other technology centered events throughout the year. Internet Week New York, which celebrates digital culture, is scheduled this year from May 14-21. Last November, the tech company General Assembly hosted Startup Weekend, an intense 54-hour event focused on helping participants build a web or mobile application that could become a credible business.

Petersen and Hartman’s concept, however, is geared toward entrepreneurs who already have a big idea but need help with the logistics of launching a successful company.

Petersen said they are expecting roughly 200 startups to attend, but he declined to name the companies that have expressed an interest because he said the details are still being worked out. He said companies large and small will have a presence at NY Tech Day.

“The support,” he added, “has been so overwhelmingly positive for this.”